Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President on the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 04, 1968

America is shocked and saddened by the brutal slaying tonight of Dr. Martin Luther King.

I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King, who lived by nonviolence.

I pray that his family can find comfort in the memory of all he tried to do for the land he loved so well.

I have just conveyed the sympathy of Mrs. Johnson and myself to his widow, Mrs. King.

I know that every American of good will joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding leader and in praying for peace and understanding throughout this land.

We can achieve nothing by lawlessness and divisiveness among the American people. It is only by joining together and only by working together that we can continue to move toward equality and fulfillment for all of our people.

I hope that all Americans tonight will search their hearts as they ponder this most tragic incident.

I have canceled my plans for the evening. I am postponing my trip to Hawaii until tomorrow.
Thank you.

Note: The President read the statement at 9:07 p.m. outside the entrance to the West Lobby at the White House for broadcast by radio and television.

Dr. King, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a leader in the civil rights movement, was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tenn.
See also Item 180.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President on the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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